Does your sex life match your desire? A common reason couples show up in therapy is because their sex life doesn’t shore up with their desire levels. One partner may be having sex more than they want to out of a sense of obligation, and the other may be having sex less than they want and feeling rejected. Here’s why it may have happened and how to cope.
Finding the Root Cause
Sometimes, low desire has been a lifelong issue. Perhaps you have always felt less inclination to have sex than your partner—even when you were with other partners. For some, the change may have come after a traumatic experience. Others may have had no trouble before their long-term relationship. Identifying when the issue started will give you important clues to know how to address it.
Desire Is Subjective
Even if your partner’s desire is significantly less than yours, it may not be considered low desire in general. You may have high desire, or their desire level may be average for them and even high compared to some people. But many couples have a mismatched libido, and how you deal with it can affect the longevity of your relationship.
To get a feel for your baseline desire levels, imagine a stress-free situation. How much sex would you have? Some people wouldn’t want to have sex every day or week, even in a perfect relationship with plenty of time and an excellent connection with their body. Determining a baseline can help you and your partner find a reasonable compromise.
Medicine Can Help—Or Hurt
If you have zero desire to have sex or self-pleasure and you once were interested in the activity, sometimes this can be due to a medical condition. In some cases, certain prescriptions can help you feel like yourself again. Depression is a common source of decreased sexual desire. However, it’s also vital to know which medications to help depression can have sexual side effects. Otherwise, you might be fixing one problem while making the other worse. Menopause, cancer treatment, surgery, and other physiological issues can make experiencing sexual desire difficult.
Who Is Initiating Sex Matters
Some people have responsive sexual desire. This means that they may not be very active initiators of sex, but they feel desire once their partner kisses, touches, or seduces them in some way. When a couple understands this, they can start to feel less rejection about being the primary initiator and appreciate that it’s foreplay for their partner. Sharing the burden of initiating is crucial, and it can show your partner that you desire them as much as they desire you.
Getting Out of Your Head Is Key
Shame about sex is another reason people don’t feel as much desire as they once did. Shame doesn’t magically disappear during adulthood if it was ingrained into your mind as a child. Shame can show up in the bedroom and obliterate any arousal you were feeling. Working through shame can help you feel more empowered during sex and accept that your sexuality is healthy.
Distraction is a common problem, too. Many people are so busy that it can be hard to turn off their to-do list, even in the bedroom. Mindfulness can be essential in solving this, and that begins with a meditation practice.
Examine Your Connection
Relationship problems can’t be discounted, either. You can’t spend all day frustrated with someone and then magically turn your resentment off and get ready for intimacy. Further, overfamiliarity and over-accessibility of sex can decrease the eroticism in your relationship.
Avoiding the Issue
The worst thing you can do is ignore the fact that you’re not in the mood for sex. Occasionally, the issue may resolve itself if it’s due to something temporary, like a surgery recovery or a minor fight. But most of the time, the issue will get worse. Sexlessness isn’t uncommon, and it can be devastating for a relationship. You may even feel depressed about the state of sex in your relationship. To find out more, watch my video:
If you’re ready to get your libido back, contact me for a free consultation today.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to take the sex quiz for women.